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Diet & Body Toning
How Bat Wings Form

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

The 'Diet Nanny' Section of Diet Bites.

What are Bat Wings & How do They Form?

Bat wings is slang for the dangling under-skin which is located in the upper shoulder area of the body. The sagging skin is visible when the arms are fully extended - parallel with the body.

This is a very common imperfection and it's more pronounced in women than in men - who are comprised of more muscle mass. As the ageing process occurs almost all women will experience some form of sagging skin in this area.

Bat wings generally go unnoticed by others unless the sleeveless garments are worn and the arms are extended.

What Causes Bat Wings?

Bat wings occur when (i) an individual gains weight, then looses the weight - creating a stretch in the skin; or (ii) when an individual neglects exercising the upper arm area.  But there are other causes which we will touch upon below.


As we grow older the cells of the human body naturally start breaking down. They aren't as strong, resistant to disease or as healthy as they were in our younger years. As the muscle tissue begins to breakdown, areas of the body start to sag.

And it's not just the area beneath our armpits that starts to sag. Other areas - such as our face, kneecaps, leg calves and neck also start sagging - as if the skin has literally been stretched.

Natural Gravitational Pull & Bat Wings

Unfortunately, one cannot fight the gravitational force. Even if the body didn't age, at some point just the sheer pressure of gravity would have an impact on our body.

Lack of Body Toning, Exercise

As kids, we continually climbed, pulled and yanked - thus giving the upper arm a superior workout.  As we age, most of us tend to grow not only older, but less active.  Some of us molt.

Age isn't always a factor where bat wings are involved. Even young adults are victims.

Fact is, when we don't exercise certain areas of our body, the result is 'sag'. And where this problematic area of the body is concerned, it's very tricky to tone.

How to Decrease the Appearance of Bat Wings

Even though they can be frustrating, here are a few positive tips which can serve to decrease the appearance of bat wings.

Wearing Tops With Sleeves

Sleeveless garments emphasize the upper shoulder area. All is well until we move our arms in certain positions and at that point, our bat wings will wobble. Opting to wear clothes which have short or long sleeves can assist in hiding this VERY COMMON imperfection.

Bat Wing Surgery

One caveat - if the hanging skin on the underside of your upper arm is extremely loose, it may require the attention of Arm Life Surgery (brachioplasty).

Before resorting to extremes, try the toning exercises listed below - or look for a gym which has a specialized machine which targets the underarm areas.

Keep in mind that surgery of any type has risks and brachioplasty is an aggressive measure to be rid of the sagging skin. However, in many cases it's the only method for totally remedying the issue.

Toning to Lessen Unsightly Appearance

They can be toned to a certain degree, depending on the severity of the skin-sag. To lessen or reverse bat wings, try these upper-arm toning exercises.

Look Diet Nanny, no bat wings!

If you are equipped with bat wings, don't despair! You, too, can achieve firm upper arms just like Model Diet Citizen Debbie.

Exercises to Tone Bat Wings

One of my favorite exercises to work this part of the body is to lay on the bed (or any flat surface) so that when you fully extend your arm up to your head-area, they hang off the bed.

I use light weights (1-2 pounders) and holding one in each hand, I bring them up very slowly. It's not the speed that works the muscle, rather the force expressed during your workout. Work up slowly to a rep that suits your personal needs.

Exercise #2:  Carry your free weight with you when you walk and work them while you work your arms.  (You'll look a bit like a speeded-up Tin Soldier.)

Exercise #3:  With a small free weight in your hand, and in a standing position, put your arm straight out. Next, bend your arm at the elbow.

Next, slowly lift your arm - going towards your shoulder blade, on past until the weight in hanging above your back. Reach back as far as you can without straining.  

You should feel a slight pull in the underarm. This exercise is effective in working out the underarm area assists in toning and tightening.


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